monica llorian, nutcase helmet

The Art of “Just Do It”

Has this ever happened to you:

It’s a lovely day! You decide to bike. After you grab your water bottle, lock, bike shorts, gloves, clip-in shoes, spare tube, pannier, reflective vest, lights, rain jacket, ID, money, helmet, air pump, levers, tools, cell phone, bicycle commutingbasket, charger…

The joy has left you. It’s too much work. You hop in your car instead.

I know this routine because it’s happened to me. A LOT. Just thinking about preparing to leave for a ride was exhausting.

Well! No pun intended, but I decided to break this cycle. From now on, I’d have a more “just do it” approach.

I decided to test my new resolve with a weekend trip to Kansas City. I was driving there and would take my bike on my car, but leave the car in a free lot and get around town on my beloved Frenchman “Pierre,” a vintage 1973 Peugeot Mixte.

Riding Pierre would make my trip more economical, and let me enjoy KC in the best way possible.

bicycle driving, kansas city

Pierre in Kansas City, prior to his meltdown

Before I left home, I ensured Pierre’s tires were aired up. I took only a basket, lock, lights and helmet. Nothing else! I bike in regular clothes. Travel light, that’s my goal.

Prior to my trip, I asked my Airbnb hosts if there were bike racks in front of building. They couldn’t remember, but said I could bring my bike up to my loft. While I would have use of an elevator, this made me even more determined to travel light.

Biking around KC was easy. I stopped any time I wanted to enjoy views I would have easily missed in a car.

On my last day I wanted to visit a highly recommended vegan bake shop. It was a little far but I didn’t care. The weather was perfect. I’d be able to bike off calories after I devoured pastries.

With very little traffic, I felt like I had the roads to myself. I was just enjoying my time when the unexpected happened: A bolt on the pedal crank broke! Suddenly Pierre was unrideable.

I was stuck on the side of the road in a town where I knew no one. I was too far from my Airbnb to walk the bike back. My first thought was to chastise myself: “I should have packed my tools and extra bolts!”

Yeah, right. Even if I had tools, would I have been able to fix Pierre? What to do?

I remembered someone telling me that I could Uber a car that can carry a bike. Uber! I’ll Uber! I got my phone and ordered a car to come get me. I locked up Pierre to get him later. I didn’t need to order a special vehicle though it was available. In less than five minutes, my Uber driver arrived. Twenty-five minutes later I was in my car, picking up Pierre.don't overplan, just ride!

Not once did I regret not packing “everything” in the event something happened. This was a small hiccup in a fun weekend ride.

Over-planning for the worst could be the worst thing that happens to you on a ride. I ride more since I’ve stopped worrying about what I “should” bring on trips. I don’t even worry about what I wear. You’ll often see me in flip flops and a skirt. This has been a life changer!

There are a few things I always bring: A fully charged cell phone, bike lights and a helmet. But everything is really not necessary. Most things I can get at my destination & leave there, or arrange to get later.

“Anything is fixable except death,” my mom says. So true! These days, anything is a cell phone call away.

Goodies from Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee

OH! I made it to that vegan bake shop, with Pierre. He was resting comfortably on the bike rack ready to get back home. He has since recovered from his injuries and is back on the road.

5 replies
  1. Shannon Martin
    Shannon Martin says:

    Monica, thank you for your wonderful post. I make a point of riding “as-is” with as little planning and gear as possible. CS taught me what things I need to have at the ready so now when I ride I simple grab my small bike bag (which I rarely get into during a ride). I’ve taken a lot more bicycle trips because it’s no big deal to hop on my bike and go. It’s truly no big deal–just ride!

    Reply
  2. Jonathan Wells
    Jonathan Wells says:

    I’ve been trying to do the same thing this summer. I often over-prepare and end up lugging my panniers around, full of crap I don’t even need. Today I had a physiotherapy appointment downtown and rode with just my keys, some money folded in a small change purse, my phone and sunglasses. Luxury is not having stuff weigh you down. With the summer weather I’ve been wearing shorts and tank tops and it’s so breezy on my bike I forget about the stifling heat. Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  3. Katherine Tynan
    Katherine Tynan says:

    Some folks are surprised when they see me without my pannier packed that is packed like a Girl Scout. Just because I can change a tire or make an emergency single speed on the side of the road doesn’t mean I want to. If I’m hauling 20lbs of groceries, in dressy clothes, or out in the heat/cold a knitting project and a transit card is my repair plan. I’m much happier to deal with it at home with a workstand, climate control, and a track pump. On a beautiful day in comfortable clothes: yes, I’m lashing my fender back together with dental floss out of my pannier to ride home.

    Reply
  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    Great article. I get soooo tired of packing everything. There is always someone around or. A Cell phone for help. Remember when you were younger and just jumped on your bike, That’s what I want to do. So thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  5. Patrick Smith
    Patrick Smith says:

    What I like to do is keep most of my stuff in a trunk bag. Then I have a small saddle bag on each bike with essentials like spare tube, tire levers and nitrile gloves so I don’t have to move that around. I carry my clothes to work in that same trunk bag, which has handy fold-out panniers. So I just move my lights and trunk bag back and forth between bikes, and I’m ready to go.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply